By Elton Gomes
Japanese investment giant SoftBank has hired former Facebook executive Kirthiga Reddy as a venture partner for its $100 billion Vision Fund.
“I look forward to bringing my technical and business expertise — from both enterprise and consumer technology, in developed and emerging markets — to the Vision Fund team… I am excited to be working closely with Deep Nishar on frontier technologies — AI, robotics, health tech, bioengineering, semis, IoT, quantum computing, and more — that will enable the next stage of the information revolution,” Reddy wrote in a Facebook post.
Reddy will be based out of SoftBank’s Silicon Valley office at San Carlos, and will be working closely with senior managing partner Deep Nishar.
The announcement comes after the appointment of Sumer Juneja to head the India arm of SoftBank’s Vision Fund. The development is an indicator that SoftBank plans to strengthen its top brass as it looks to close several multi-million dollar deals across the world.
SoftBank has invested more than $8 billion in Indian start-ups such as Ola, PolicyBazaar, Grofers, OYO, and Paytm. Globally, it has backed firms such as Uber Technologies Inc., Didi Chuxing, and WeWork.
Reddy had resigned as Facebook India MD (which was earlier based in Hyderabad) in 2016 and returned to its US headquarters at Menlo Park to work there.
Paroma Roy Chowdhury, the vice president, corporate communication and public affairs, SoftBank, wrote on social media, “We are excited to welcome Kirthiga Reddy to the SoftBank family. She joins us from Facebook where she built many of their critical operations around the world, including her work in India and her focus on emerging and high-growth markets like Brazil and South Africa. She serves as Chair, Stanford Business School Management Board,” as per a report in the International Business Times.
Who is Kirthiga Reddy?
Reddy’s LinkedIn profile mentions that she has completed her BE in Computer Science and Engineering from Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University, Aurangabad. She then went on to complete her Masters from Syracuse University, New York. She also has an MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.
Reddy spent eight years at Facebook, mostly as managing director for its business in India and Southeast Asia before a two-year stint in the U.S. leading global partnerships. With Reddy’s induction, SoftBank will gain insights and hands-on experience in emerging markets, which remains a key focus area for the investors.
Reddy has joined SoftBank Investment Advisors, which manages the giant fund globally, to focus on frontier and enterprise technology globally, according to a SoftBank spokeswoman.
The spokeswoman further said that Reddy will work closely with Senior Managing Partner Deep Nishar. Reddy is the fund’s first venture partner and will be investing.
Reddy is joining a team that’s helped SoftBank Group founder Masayoshi Son orchestrate an unprecedented wave of investment in Silicon Valley, China, and other places as well. The Vision Fund has committed more than $65 billion to acquire stakes in companies like Uber Technologies Inc., WeWork Cos. and China’s Didi Chuxing.
SoftBank to open office in Mumbai
Media reports in November stated that SoftBank Investment Advisers, which invests through the SoftBank Vision Fund, was looking to increase its hold over India’s technology ecosystem.
The fund has announced plans to open an office in Mumbai in India and has also roped in Sumer Juneja to lead the same.
“I’m delighted to welcome Sumer to the team; he will play a pivotal role in working with our existing portfolio companies as well as sourcing new opportunities on the ground. India represents an enormous addressable market comprising a young, tech-enabled population.
“I am excited by many of the opportunities we see there and look forward to announcing further investments in the coming months,” said Rajeev Misra, CEO, SoftBank Investment Advisors and Board Director, SoftBank Group in a statement, as per an Economic Times report.
SoftBank was also in the news after offering to invest $1 billion in Ola. The ride hailing app also said that it may invest in areas such as e-pharmacy, and is reportedly close to finalising an investment in this fast-growing sector.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius
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